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Welcome to our blog income reports where we share ways we’ve been making money through the blog, the challenges and lessons we learned each month, and finally to celebrate successes however big or small. Though we have a few side hustles, we’re happy that the travel blog is our main hustle.

Life Updates

We ticked off a few big bucket list items in May. Reflection Canyon has been a place I wanted to photograph for years, and we finally made it out there and survived the storm. Sure, we had some near death experiences, but I suppose that made it one of the most memorable trips to date.

Also, on our recent press trip with Travel Texas, we got to explore Big Bend National Park. We love our National Parks, and we can’t wait to share more photos and posts about our big Texas adventure.

This post may contain affiliate links, where we receive a small commission on sales of the products that are linked at no additional cost to you. Read our full disclosure for more info. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Local Adventurer possible.

Originally Published: Jun 12, 2019

How We Made OVER $30.9K in May - Travel Blog Income Report
Why We Share Our Income Reports

If you’re new here, you might be wondering why on earth we would share something so personal. We’ve been hesitant to share our income reports for the last 5 years, and we’re super nervous about this post, but since we’re all about trial and error, let’s see how it goes! We’re putting out these income reports for these following reasons.

To Show You How We Make Income Blogging

We always want to be 100% transparent about how we make money through this blog. The amazing thing about the blogging world is that every blogger we’ve talked to does things a bit differently. There are also countless ways to grow and improve your business. When we started, we made most of our money through affiliate sales. Since then, we’ve shifted heavily to sponsored content. A big part of this is because my background is in sales and it’s what I’m good at. You can learn more about my sale method below. As time goes on, this will continue to change, but we want to share how we focus on our strengths to effectively meet our goals.

To Show You the Potential of Blogging

Whether you have a blog or are starting a blog, we want to show you that you can make a career out of blogging.

Even if you don’t want to blog, there are a ton of ways to be financially and location independent and we hope to inspire others to go after it too. If you want to keep your day job, blogging can be a great way for you to make some extra side money.

Esther started the blog 6 years ago and I joined her full time 3 years ago. Even until last year, our parents were worried about us financially, wondering when we would stop “playing” and start taking our lives and work more seriously. Neither of us ended up being “good Asians” (namely a doctor, lawyer, or engineer). It’s an unconventional job and where most people don’t understand all the work that goes on behind the scenes.

We love that our jobs give us flexibility in what we do, but being your own boss isn’t all that it’s cut out to be either. You have to be disciplined and work hard at your business to grow it.

If you’re not getting the results you want, again, keep in mind that we’ve been blogging for 6 years now and the first month I tried monetizing my blog, I made less than $20. Give it more time and failing in the process is okay. I didn’t have the correct tools that are out now and a lot of it was trial and error. Consider it all an A/B test to figure out what will best work for you.

Note: There are a lot of great blogs and resources out there about blogging, but the tough part is that it’s not always replicable unless you also want to start blogging about blogging. We wanted to show you that it’s possible to start a blog on other topics and still make a living. Though we have an e-course in the works, we want to continue to show you that the bulk of our income still comes from our travel blog.

To Track How We're Doing

I’ve always loved sharing goals online and tracking them. Putting them out in the world (via the blog) has helped me so much with accountability. Since we’re constantly tweaking trying to improve the blog, looking at these numbers will help us learn whether we’ve been making the right changes. It’s amazing to see how the sources of income have changed over time and to see where we still have room for improvement.

Ultimately, our life goal is to make enough to live on half our income (right now we’re at 30%), where the rest will go back into the community or support organizations we love.

Breakdown of Income for May 2019

In May 2019 we earned a total of $30,944.79

Affiliate Income
Sponsorships
  • Sponsored Product Posts: $25,031.22 
    *our fave marketplace lately: IZEA
Display Ads
  • Adthrive: $3,668.09
Income Comparison to Other Months
  • Total in 2019 Year Income: $121,964.86
  • Last Month Income: $21,714.49
  • Difference: 42.5% increase from last month
Expenses

TOTAL EXPENSES: $5,553.73
TOTAL NET PROFIT: $25,391.06

*Roughly 30% of your income will go to taxes at the end of the year. The number above shows the money set aside for taxes to offset how much we have to pay at the end. It makes it less painful at the end of the year.

May 2019 Blog Traffic Breakdown + Stats
  • Monthly Pageviews: 674,621
  • Daily Average: 21,761
  • Monthly Sessions: 517,803
  • Monthly Unique Visitors: 429,920
  • Social Media Followers: 321,144
  • Email Subscribers: 8,371
Goals for June 2019
Blog Goals
  • Get back to posting once a week. For real this time.
  • Update Pinterest photos for the top 25 posts.
  • Attend and follow up with IPW
  • Move servers and increase site speed
Life Goals
  • Start intermitten fasting
  • 2 date nights (we keep putting this one off)
  • Finish a book
  • Workout or go to the climbing gym 3x a week.
  • Work only 40 hours a week (on weeks we’re not traveling)
What's Working on the Blog

The blog has been running well on its own. Jacob was on our friend’s Off the Pill podcast, which pretty much shut down our site for a few hours from the flood of traffic. We’ve also spent a lot of time updating our older posts, so traffic has been increasing even though the number of posts we’ve published has gone down significantly. It just goes to show that more posts doesn’t necessarily mean more traffic. Although, we do recommend you post often if you are in your first year of blogging. I still can’t believe I used to post 3x a week for several years.

What Didn't Work + Lessons Learned

We need to get back to posting regularly, so we’re going to aim to post at least once a week again. We were also reaching the limits of our server, which generally made our site slow but also crashed our site after a flood of traffic. We’ll be looking for a faster solution this month.

HOW TO WORK WITH SPONSORS​

The e-course is out! Are you a content creator and want to learn how to work with brands?

If you look at our income reports, we make a majority of our income from sponsored posts. We used to do many one-off partnerships with brands, but over the years we’ve been focused on longer term partnerships. Most our brand sponsorships are over $20k, and one of our most recent ones was over $35k.

With over 10 years of trial and error working in corporate and managing our first business, Jacob has figured out the best ways to pitch and work with brands.

At first we were reluctant to put out just another e-course in this oversaturated, dog-eat-dog market, but we’ve seen our coaching and course actually help people quit their jobs and start their own businesses. How cool is that? Plus, all our students who have put our course to action have made their money back within the month, and one of our students using the e-course has already booked $11k in sponsorships. So effin’ excited to see them conquer this new chapter in their lives. If you’re interested to learn more, see the intro video here.

What have you been up to last month? Any fun plans next month? What are some of your goals next month?
Esther + Jacob

Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, which is one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found both near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in Las Vegas.

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While living in LA, we visited the beach no more than 5 times the ENTIRE year and immediately regretted it after moving to Vegas. Traffic was always our biggest excuse for staying in, but we know we missed out big time. Now that we’re back on the coast, we’re determined to enjoy the beach during our time in San Diego. We’re hoping to explore every beach in the area and make it out to a beach – new or old – once a week. We also put together a list of our beach essentials when we go.

A big thank you to Sparkling ICE for sponsoring this post. All opinions are always our own. This post may contain affiliate links, where we receive a small commission on sales of the products that are linked at no additional cost to you. Read our full disclosure for more info. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Local Adventurer possible.

Last Updated: Jun 7, 2019 // Originally Published: Jun 11, 2015

What to Bring to the Beach - Our Beach Essentials Packing List
  • Beach Bag: It’s especially good if it has a clasp or zipper at the top and you can use it as your carry on personal item too.
  •  Sunscreen: Skin cancer is no joke! We used to love using our Neutrogena Dry Touch, but after reading up on what ingredients go into their sunscreens along with other big brands, we’ve found some great non-toxic alternatives.
  •  Chapstick with SPF: Jacob’s burnt his lips more than once because he forgot about them.
  • First Aid Kit: We don’t always pack one, but we know we should.
  •  Cheap Sunglasses: I keep my nicer pair in the car, so that they don’t get scratched up by the sand.
  •  Sunhat: Gotta keep the sun off your face. The one I’m wearing above is from San Diego Hat Company.
  •  Swimsuit
  •  Swim Cover Up
  •  Summer Attire: Summer dress, tank top or tee, and shorts.
  •  Beach Towel 
  •  Beach Blanket or Portable Beach Mat: Lately, it’s been too cold to get in the water, so we like to bring a blanket to relax on. Jacob hates getting sand in everything, so that’s the best way to keep the sand away. We got ours a while back at our alma mater.
  •  A Good Book: Nothings better than feeling the breeze, soaking in the sun, and enjoying a good book. We typically bring our Kindles with us so we have multiple options on what to read. I’m currently reading Slaughterhouse Five, and Jacob is currently reading The Giver. What about you?
  •  A Light Jacket: Even though the beach is usually nice, winds can always pick up and make it chilly as the sun sets. Be sure to bring a light jacket to stay warm. We really like our Patagonia nano puff jackets that pack up small.
  • Change of Clothes: Always good to have just in case.
  •  Camera: Whether it’s a phone, a point-and-shoot, or DSLR, we like to have at least one camera (if not all 3) to capture the moments.
  • Waterproof Flip Flops x2 or Water Shoes: Pack an extra pair in case one breaks. I’ve had flip flops break on me on trips before, and it’s never fun having to hobble around in them. Bring water shoes if you’re at a beach with rocky surfaces and not soft sand.
  •  Baby Powder: It removes moisture from your skin so sand will fall off easily.
  • Zip Lock Bags in Various Sizes: I actually bring ziplock bags on every trip because you never know when you’ll need them. You can use them to protect your phone and personal items from getting wet or pack your wet swimsuits afterward.
  •  Portable Phone Charger: This Anker charger keeps both our devices charged all day.
  •  Snacks: To keep the hanger at bay, we always bring some of our favorite beef jerky or trail mix to appease the monster.
  •  Cooler Filled With Beverage of Choice: It’s always important to stay hydrated! I’ve never liked drinking regular water, so it’s been nice having our fridge full of Sparking ICE. They have over 20 sparkling water flavors, and they have no calories (Couldn’t get in shape for our Mexican Riviera Cruise.. but maybe for Turks and Caicos? One can hope!). I love the fizziness, and my favorite flavor so far is Peach Nectarine.
More Things to Bring to the Beach

These aren’t necessities but make life easier.

  •  Beach Umbrella: Sure, you don’t need a beach umbrella, but once you use one, it’s hard to go back to the old life.
  •  Waterproof and Sandproof Portable Speaker: But keep in mind if the beach is crowded that others might not enjoy your music.

Update: I also recently got the cutest watermelon cooler / bag that I’ve been toting everywhere!

Thing to Do

Address, map

photo: 

Essential Tips
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What to Bring to the Beach

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What do you usually pack for the beach? Any beach essentials we’re missing?

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When it comes to travel, you don’t want to pick form over function. It’s a mistake we probably all made in the past, but bad shoes can make or break a trip. I’ve dealt with the pain when I was much younger, but these days I care a lot more about my feet.

Luckily, even with outdoor or orthotic brands, you can find a small selection of stylish shoes too.

On this post, we tested out all the best sandals for travel that are featured on various blogs and travel sites to let you know how they performed.

A big thank you to all the following brands for providing sandals for review. All opinions are always our own. This post may contain affiliate links, where we receive a small commission on sales of the products that are linked at no additional cost to you. Read our full disclosure for more info. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Local Adventurer possible.

Last Updated and Pricing as of May 31, 2019. Prices are subject to change.

Best Sandals for Travel in 2019 That Are Both Stylish and Comfortable

Before you see all the travel sandal options, ask yourself what types of activities you will be doing on your trip. There are different needs for hiking vs walking around the city vs lounging at a resort

What Makes a Great Travel Sandal?
  • Versatile – you can dress it up or down and it’s a bonus if it complements many colors.
  • Lightweight and easy to pack or wear at the airport.
  • Stylish – you don’t always have to choose between comfortable and stylish. Sometimes you can have your cake and eat it too.
  • Comfortable padded footbed and arch support especially if you have fallen feet.
  • Decent traction on various surfaces so you don’t slip.
  • Easy to get on and off – If there are shoe laces or features that make it more time consuming than others, I am less likely to wear them if I have other choices.
  • Ankle straps that hold the foot in place for extra support is a plus.
  • Water resistant – not always necessary, but it’s always good to have one pair you can wear to the pool or beach and not worry about getting wet

Note: I generally wear a size 5.5, which not many shoe brands carry. The woes of having small feet in an in-between size. Most shoe brands that carry sizes down to 5 don’t often do half sizes until they are bigger. I also have wide feet in the front, narrow in the back, and low arches, so the combination of these things and my feet being small presents interesting challenges for finding the right shoes and sandals for travel.

Flat Sandals

I have the Swift in the Platinum / Natural color. I’m usually a 5.5, and the 6 worked out well for me. I originally wanted the Beek Finch, which is often mentioned on many travel sites (including Travel + Leisure) as one of the best walking sandals for women. However, the Swift, which has the fully adjustable buckle straps instead and happen to be better for my wider feet. The Finch has a more asymmetric look, which you can see in the photos below.

Pros
  • Handcrafted
  • Soft vegetable tanned leather.
  • They have adjustable buckle straps for perfect sizing.
  • Their handmade leather soles custom form to your feet within hours.
  • Rubber heel for grip
Cons
  • They say you don’t notice the toe ring, but I felt it at the beginning since it fit a little tight on my big toe. After a few wears, it stretched out though.

More Reviews and Compare Prices at BeekAnthropologie

The Vionic Kirra Backstrap Sandals were featured on virtually every travel site or blog as one of the best travel sandals. It’s podiatrist designed to hug your arches and received an APMA (American Podiatric Medical Association) Seal of Acceptance.

I ordered a wide 5 in rose gold metallic.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to take on and off
  • Elastic backstrap for stability and adjustability
  • Contoured footbed gives good arch support and helps treat heel pain (plantar fasciitis).
  • Durable rubber outsole with patterned tread provides traction on a variety of surfaces.
  • Breathable microfiber EVA footbed absorbs shock and reduces stress on feet, ankle, and knees.
  • 30 Day wear test guarantee or your money back.
Cons
  • The reviews mentioned that they run big. Unfortunately for me in the smallest size (5), and I found them to be loose. I tried them out as my primary shoes on a recent week long trip, and while I had no foot pain, it was annoying that my feet moved so much in it. I also have the Vionic Coralina Wedge in 5, which fits small on me, and you can see the huge difference in sizes here.

More Reviews and Compare Prices at Amazon, Vionic, Zappos

We were ambassadors for Superfeet in the past and have always loved their insoles and lightweight shoes that incorporates their insoles. Their shoes are designed from the inside out, so you know you will always have the support and comfort you need. I already loved their stylish ankle boots for travel and have taken them on so many trips. When I saw that the Laurel sandals were voted best for summer by Outside Magazine, I had to try them.

I have them in size 6 in the color grey / orange, though they look more pink than orange.

Pros
  • Very lightweight and easy to wear slide
  • Cork and EVA blend
  • Full grain leather footbed has the best support.
  • Slip resistant synthetic rubber that provides good traction
  • Great for the outdoors and easy to moderate hikes. I probably would not scramble in these, but they did have decent traction. I mainlyused them for approach and bouldering in between climbs.
Cons
  • 6 is the smallest size they make, and the shoe and straps are slightly big on me.

More Reviews and Compare Prices at Amazon, DSW, Shoes.com

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We absolutely love exploring Utah. Part of the reason we moved back to Las Vegas this year is because it makes Southern Utah so accessible. Did you know Zion is only 2.5 hours away from Vegas?

Utah has 5 major National Parks and many other National Park Units. Although we’ve been to all of the Mighty 5, there’s so much we still have yet to see. You could probably spend a lifetime exploring the parks, and we’re excited for this next season of road trips!

This post may contain affiliate links, where we receive a small commission on sales of the products that are linked at no additional cost to you. All opinions are always our own. Read our full disclosure for more info. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Local Adventurer possible.

Last Updated: May 13, 2019

PHOTO

photo: 

Subtitle
How to Get There
Closest Major Airport to the Mighty 5
  • Las Vegas (LVS) to Zion National Park (160 mi NE / 2 h 30 min drive, map)
  • Salt Lake City (SLC) to Arches National Park (230 mi SE / 3 h 30 min drive, map)
Smaller Regional Airports

These don’t have as many direct flights, but if you don’t mind the layovers, these are some options that will get you a little closer.

  • St George (SGU) to Zion (45 mi NE / 1 h drive, map) – closed May 29 to Sep 29, 2019
  • Cedar City (CDC) to Zion (60 mi S / 1 h drive, map)
  • Grand Junction (GJT) to Arches (110 mi SW / 1 h 30. min drive, map)
  • Moab (CNY) to Arches (14 mi SE / 15 min drive, map)

1101 Zion Mount Carmel Hwy, Hurricane, 84737, map

Zion National Park has amazing hikes taking you to the top of massive sandstone cliffs, along weeping walls, and through narrow slot canyons. There’s a wide range of difficulties when hiking here. Even though you get to see a lot of highlights from the scenic drive, the most beautiful parts have to be explored on foot. 

Pro Tip: Zion has become incredibly popular and since everyone goes to the valley, it gets ridiculously crowded. Consider going during the week, doing a sunrise or night hike, or checking out some lesser trafficked trails like Observation Point or Hidden Canyon Trail. The Narrows top down hike also has no people on the first day and then you meet up with the day hikers on your second day.

UT-63, Bryce, 84764, map

Entry Fee: $35 for 7 days (or $80 for an American the Beautiful Pass)
Can’t Miss Spots: Bryce Amphitheater, Inspiration Point, Natural Bridge
Where to Stay: Bryce Canyon Resort, ByBee’s Steppingstone Motel, More Hotels, Airbnb

Bryce Canyon is made up of multiple amphitheaters and bowls carved into the edge of a high plateau. Amidst these amphitheaters are irregular rock columns called hoodoos.

Bryce has the largest concentration of hoodoos found anywhere on Earth. This park is relatively small and you can cover a lot in a day. If you only have a few hours, you can do the short scenic drive and pull out to the different viewpoints. Otherwise, you can hike to see the hoodoos up close.

Pro Tip: If you’ve already been, try visiting closer to winter to see the hoodoos covered in snow.

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Welcome to our blog income reports where we share ways we’ve been making money through the blog, the challenges and lessons we learned each month, and finally to celebrate successes however big or small. Though we have a few side hustles, we’re happy to say that the travel blog has become our main hustle.

Life Updates - I Got a New Job!

We decided that once we moved to Las Vegas, we would live life at a slower pace and not work as many hours as we were living in NYC. Now that the blog has become consistent, both Jacob and I have been looking for other ways to grow and learn.

Lately, I’ve found myself spending all my spare time watching climbing videos and being intrigued with all the different setting. When the opportunity came at our local gym, I decided to take setting clinic to learn how to create bouldering problems. 

In the past, I thought it would be fun to be a setter, but I wrote it off assuming I would never be qualified. Even after applying and getting the job, there have been so many insecurities that have crept into my mind (ie, I’m not a strong enough climber or I’m not creative enough).

It’s been a while since I put myself out there to possibly fail. The past 12+ years has been about slowly cultivating skills I already knew I had. This is the first time in a long while that I’m taking a leap not knowing where I will land.

On this blog, it might seem strange to want to go from being my own boss for so many years to working for someone else, but it’s a challenge I think is worth pursuing. Even if I fail, I’m sure it will be a good learning experience and am so excited about this new chapter.

This post may contain affiliate links, where we receive a small commission on sales of the products that are linked at no additional cost to you. Read our full disclosure for more info. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Local Adventurer possible.

Originally Published: May 8, 2019

How We Made OVER $21.7K in April - Travel Blog Income Report
Why We Share Our Income Reports

If you’re new here, you might be wondering why on earth we would share something so personal. We’ve been hesitant to share our income reports for the last 5 years, and we’re super nervous about this post, but since we’re all about trial and error, let’s see how it goes! We’re putting out these income reports for these following reasons.

To Show You How We Make Income Blogging

We always want to be 100% transparent about how we make money through this blog. The amazing thing about the blogging world is that every blogger we’ve talked to does things a bit differently. There are also countless ways to grow and improve your business. When we started, we made most of our money through affiliate sales. Since then, we’ve shifted heavily to sponsored content. A big part of this is because my background is in sales and it’s what I’m good at. You can learn more about my sale method below. As time goes on, this will continue to change, but we want to share how we focus on our strengths to effectively meet our goals.

To Show You the Potential of Blogging

Whether you have a blog or are starting a blog, we want to show you that you can make a career out of blogging.

Even if you don’t want to blog, there are a ton of ways to be financially and location independent and we hope to inspire others to go after it too. If you want to keep your day job, blogging can be a great way for you to make some extra side money.

Esther started the blog 6 years ago and I joined her full time 3 years ago. Even until last year, our parents were worried about us financially, wondering when we would stop “playing” and start taking our lives and work more seriously. Neither of us ended up being “good Asians” (namely a doctor, lawyer, or engineer). It’s an unconventional job and where most people don’t understand all the work that goes on behind the scenes.

We love that our jobs give us flexibility in what we do, but being your own boss isn’t all that it’s cut out to be either. You have to be disciplined and work hard at your business to grow it.

If you’re not getting the results you want, again, keep in mind that we’ve been blogging for 6 years now and the first month I tried monetizing my blog, I made less than $20. Give it more time and failing in the process is okay. I didn’t have the correct tools that are out now and a lot of it was trial and error. Consider it all an A/B test to figure out what will best work for you.

Note: There are a lot of great blogs and resources out there about blogging, but the tough part is that it’s not always replicable unless you also want to start blogging about blogging. We wanted to show you that it’s possible to start a blog on other topics and still make a living. Though we have an e-course in the works, we want to continue to show you that the bulk of our income still comes from our travel blog.

To Track How We're Doing

I’ve always loved sharing goals online and tracking them. Putting them out in the world (via the blog) has helped me so much with accountability. Since we’re constantly tweaking trying to improve the blog, looking at these numbers will help us learn whether we’ve been making the right changes. It’s amazing to see how the sources of income have changed over time and to see where we still have room for improvement.

Ultimately, our life goal is to make enough to live on half our income (right now we’re at 30%), where the rest will go back into the community or support organizations we love.

Breakdown of Income for April 2019

In April 2019 we earned a total of $21,714.49. Our ad numbers are going to be funky for the next couple of months as our payments transfer from AdThrive to Mediavine.

Affiliate Income
  • Amazon: $438.28
  • Commission Junction: $167.91
  • Misc (Ebay, Skimlinks, AWin, etc): $254.43
Sponsorships
  • Sponsored Product Posts: $19,700 
    *our fave marketplace lately: IZEA
Display Ads
  • Adthrive: $1,153.87
Income Comparison to Other Months
  • Total in 2019 Year Income: $91,020.07
  • Last Month Income: $17,708.99
  • Difference: 22.6% increase from last month
Expenses

TOTAL EXPENSES: $6,494.80
TOTAL NET PROFIT: $15,219.69

*Roughly 30% of your income will go to taxes at the end of the year. The number above shows the money set aside for taxes to offset how much we have to pay at the end. It makes it less painful at the end of the year.

April 2019 Blog Traffic Breakdown + Stats
  • Monthly Pageviews: 595,931
  • Daily Average: 19,864
  • Monthly Sessions: 463,778
  • Monthly Unique Visitors: 387,325
  • Social Media Followers: 322,379
  • Email Subscribers: 8,576
Goals for May
Blog Goals
  • Post at least once a week.
  • Update Affiliate Links for the Top 25 Posts (50 if 25 is finished early).
  • Update Pinterest Photos for Top 25 Posts.
  • Optimize Keywords for Older Posts.
Life Goals
  • Take one day off a week.
  • Go on two date nights
What Didn't Work + Lessons Learned

We’ve been hosting different friends pretty much every other week after moving to Vegas and haven’t had as much time to hunker down and work on the blog. We moved here at the end of February and have already had 5 sets of friends stay with us.

I’m glad to see that traffic did not dip significantly even though I haven’t posted anything this past month, but I don’t intend for this to happen again next month.

The e-course is out! Are you a content creator and want to learn how to work with brands?

If you look at our income reports, we make a majority of our income from sponsored posts. We used to do many one-off partnerships with brands, but over the years we’ve been focused on longer term partnerships. Most our brand sponsorships are over $20k, and one of our most recent ones was over $35k.

With over 10 years of trial and error working in corporate and managing our first business, Jacob has figured out the best ways to pitch and work with brands.

At first we were reluctant to put out just another e-course in this oversaturated, dog-eat-dog market, but we’ve seen our coaching and course actually help people quit their jobs and start their own businesses. How cool is that? Plus, all our students who have put our course to action have made their money back within the month, and one of our students using the e-course has already booked $11k in sponsorships. So effin’ excited to see them conquer this new chapter in their lives. If you’re interested to learn more, see the intro video here.

What have you been up to last month? Any fun plans next month? What are some of your goals next month?
Esther + Jacob
Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, which is one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found both near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in NYC.

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Welcome to our blog income reports where we share ways we’ve been making money through the blog, the challenges and lessons we learned each month, and finally to celebrate successes however big or small. Though we have a few side hustles, we’re happy that the travel blog is our main hustle.

Life Updates

Our first month in Las Vegas flew by! We spent a lot of time climbing at Red Rock and indoors, visited LA, checked out RVX in SLC, and went to Joshua Tree twice. We’re definitely loving being close to the outdoors again.

Every time I see scenes from New York, I do miss the city a lot, but I can’t deny how nice it is to take life at a slower pace. We don’t have to work crazy hours to keep up with rent. And for the first time ever, we haven’t had an issue keeping our goal to work less than 40 hours a week.

This post may contain affiliate links, where we receive a small commission on sales of the products that are linked at no additional cost to you. Read our full disclosure for more info. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Local Adventurer possible.

Originally Published: April 11, 2019

How We Made OVER $17K in March - Travel Blog Income Report
Why We Share Our Income Reports

If you’re new here, you might be wondering why on earth we would share something so personal. We’ve been hesitant to share our income reports for the last 5 years, and we’re super nervous about this post, but since we’re all about trial and error, let’s see how it goes! We’re putting out these income reports for these following reasons.

To Show You How We Make Income Blogging

We always want to be 100% transparent about how we make money through this blog. The amazing thing about the blogging world is that every blogger we’ve talked to does things a bit differently. There are also countless ways to grow and improve your business. When we started, we made most of our money through affiliate sales. Since then, we’ve shifted heavily to sponsored content. A big part of this is because my background is in sales and it’s what I’m good at. You can learn more about my sale method below. As time goes on, this will continue to change, but we want to share how we focus on our strengths to effectively meet our goals.

To Show You the Potential of Blogging

Whether you have a blog or are starting a blog, we want to show you that you can make a career out of blogging.

Even if you don’t want to blog, there are a ton of ways to be financially and location independent and we hope to inspire others to go after it too. If you want to keep your day job, blogging can be a great way for you to make some extra side money.

Esther started the blog 6 years ago and I joined her full time 3 years ago. Even until last year, our parents were worried about us financially, wondering when we would stop “playing” and start taking our lives and work more seriously. Neither of us ended up being “good Asians” (namely a doctor, lawyer, or engineer). It’s an unconventional job and where most people don’t understand all the work that goes on behind the scenes.

We love that our jobs give us flexibility in what we do, but being your own boss isn’t all that it’s cut out to be either. You have to be disciplined and work hard at your business to grow it.

If you’re not getting the results you want, again, keep in mind that we’ve been blogging for 6 years now and the first month I tried monetizing my blog, I made less than $20. Give it more time and failing in the process is okay. I didn’t have the correct tools that are out now and a lot of it was trial and error. Consider it all an A/B test to figure out what will best work for you.

Note: There are a lot of great blogs and resources out there about blogging, but the tough part is that it’s not always replicable unless you also want to start blogging about blogging. We wanted to show you that it’s possible to start a blog on other topics and still make a living. Though we have an e-course in the works, we want to continue to show you that the bulk of our income still comes from our travel blog.

To Track How We're Doing

I’ve always loved sharing goals online and tracking them. Putting them out in the world (via the blog) has helped me so much with accountability. Since we’re constantly tweaking trying to improve the blog, looking at these numbers will help us learn whether we’ve been making the right changes. It’s amazing to see how the sources of income have changed over time and to see where we still have room for improvement.

Ultimately, our life goal is to make enough to live on half our income (right now we’re at 30%), where the rest will go back into the community or support organizations we love.

Breakdown of Income for March 2019

In March 2019 we earned a total of $17,708.99

Affiliate Income
Sponsorships
  • Sponsored Product Posts: $11,093.28 
    *our fave marketplace lately: IZEA
Display Ads
  • Adthrive: $5,233.74
Income Comparison to Other Months
  • Total in 2019 Year Income: $69,305.58
  • Last Month Income: $24,707.67
  • Difference: 28% decrease from last month
Expenses

TOTAL EXPENSES: $5,277.21
TOTAL NET PROFIT: $12,431.78

*Roughly 30% of your income will go to taxes at the end of the year. The number above shows the money set aside for taxes to offset how much we have to pay at the end. It makes it less painful at the end of the year.

March 2019 Blog Traffic Breakdown + Stats
  • Monthly Pageviews: 648,824
  • Daily Average: 20,930
  • Monthly Sessions: 502,836
  • Monthly Unique Visitors: 422,152
  • Social Media Followers: 322,363
  • Email Subscribers: 8,518
Goals for April
Blog Goals
  • Plan our content calendar and figure out a posting schedule for both NYC and Las Vegas content.
  • Post once a week (not including sponsored posts).
  • Update 2 older posts a week.
  • Start to integrate more photography tips.
Life Goals
  • Get back into astrophotography
  • Learn how to set some creative bouldering problems.
  • Work less than 40 hours a week.
  • Go on two date nights
What's Working on the Blog

Our traffic last month increased significantly and we spent most of our time optimizing existing posts rather than working on new content. From our analytics, views from social referrals stayed the same, but organic search has been steadily increasing.

What Didn't Work + Lessons Learned

Our ad revenue was much lower, because we switched from Adthrive to Mediavine mid-month, which means we’ll be expecting less ad money this month and next month. We have similar settings, and it looks like so far we’re making more with Mediavine.

HOW TO WORK WITH SPONSORS​

The e-course is out! Are you a content creator and want to learn how to work with brands?

If you look at our income reports, we make a majority of our income from sponsored posts. We used to do many one-off partnerships with brands, but over the years we’ve been focused on longer term partnerships. Most our brand sponsorships are over $20k, and one of our most recent ones was over $35k.

With over 10 years of trial and error working in corporate and managing our first business, Jacob has figured out the best ways to pitch and work with brands.

At first we were reluctant to put out just another e-course in this oversaturated, dog-eat-dog market, but we’ve seen our coaching and course actually help people quit their jobs and start their own businesses. How cool is that? Plus, all our students who have put our course to action have made their money back within the month, and one of our students using the e-course has already booked $11k in sponsorships. So effin’ excited to see them conquer this new chapter in their lives. If you’re interested to learn more, see the intro video here.

What have you been up to last month? Any fun plans next month? What are some of your goals next month?
Esther + Jacob

Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, which is one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found both near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in Las Vegas.

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Our year in NYC is already over! I can’t believe how fast it went. As I write this, I’m currently staring out my window soaking up one of the last beautiful sunsets I’ll see over the city

For the past 5 years, we’ve explored a new city every year, and moving to each city has felt a little like dating. We’re originally from Atlanta, and so far the cities we deep dived into were LAVegasSan Diego, Portland, and NYC.

This post may contain affiliate links, where we receive a small commission on sales of the products that are linked at no additional cost to you. All opinions are always our own. Read our full disclosure for more info. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Local Adventurer possible.

Last Updated: Mar 22, 2019

Pros and Cons of Living in New York

Each city had its pros and cons. Ultimately, we haven’t felt like we could settle down in any of these cities. Maybe we’re commitment-phobes and afraid to lay down deep roots in one place or maybe we just want to pave our own path that just might not look like everyone else’s.

It always feels bittersweet to leave because there will always be parts of each city that made our stay worthwhile and also parts that made it a living hell. I’m going to mix up the pros and cons since each one with a different perspective or taken to the extreme can go either way.

The Weather Perpetually Sucks / All the Seasons

You get all the seasons, and it’s beautiful. However, the fall and spring are fleeting, and winter seems to last forever. There are many places that get colder temperatures, but what’s most brutal is the length of winter. You can assume it will go well into April. If not, you have a nice surprise. Summers are also not ideal since it gets hot and humid.

Overall, after the gloomiest and rainiest year in Portland (they had in decades), my body felt much happier having sun in NYC. I will admit that I didn’t spend much time outside during the winter.

More: How to Survive Winter in New York + Best Places to See Cherry Blossoms in NYC

It's One of the Most Expensive Cities to Live In

We’ve all heard this before, so this is no surprise. Or maybe it still is, because it’s still common to hear visitors exclaiming how crazy the prices are.

You’re paying double or maybe even triple for everything. Right now we live in an apartment that’s triple the size and half the price of our NYC studio. Get ready to say goodbye to savings, because your income is going straight to rent, and you can pretty much forget trying to buy a place.

We’re not just talking about rent. It’s also the eating out, drinking, and entertainment. Yes, there are some cheap eats in the city, but if you’re comparing it to the rest of the US, you’re paying a lot more for the same quality.  For example, dinner and a movie can set you back $100 compared to $30-50 in other cities.

PRO – Every other place will feel cheap to you!

More: Top Free Things to do in NYC

No one cares about you

This could be either a pro or a con depending on how you look at it. What I absolutely loved about New York is that you could roll out of bed or act completely batshit crazy, and people will just go on with their own busy lives. No one is judging you for how you look.

On the flip side, if you’re in trouble, everyone might pass you by thinking it’s someone else’s responsibility. Our friend saw someone have a seizure, and they were the only ones that stopped to help out.

We did have one incident that contradicts this. When Jacob passed out on the 7 train, there were several guys who stepped up and helped me carry him out.

Everyone Hustles Hard

Because everything cost more, we hustled more. We saw that many of our friends also hustled hard simply to be able to live here. I loved the working energy, but I could see it wearing me down if I had to do it for more than 3 years. It’s a great city if money ain’t a thing, but for the rest of us, it will be a city we pass through.

It's a Concrete Jungle

It has some great urban parks and green spaces, but overall it’s much harder to get outdoors and connect with nature. The busyness can sometimes feel overwhelming if you don’t have ways to “find your zen” or have inner peace.

Local Tip: Bring earbuds or head phones. Not only will it help you blend in with the locals, but it really helps you stay calm in the chaos. Sometimes my meditation app helps and sometimes having a great playlist feels like you have a soundtrack to your life while walking around the city.

More: 11 National Parks in New York City + Your Essential Guide to Central Park and All Its Secrets

There's Always a Wait and It's Crowded Everywhere

You can almost always expect a wait if you’re going out to eat during peak meal hours.

I overheard a visitor saying how New Yorkers love to wait. No one loves to wait, but New Yorkers accept that it’s the reality of New York. Not only do you live on top of each other, but you also get a ridiculous number of visitors that clog up the regular flow of the city. It’s impossible to escape if you leave your home, which is why it’s nice not to have the pressure to go out and see everything in the city. Staying home can feel like a luxury too. Is that why people are going from place to place to get out of the crowd as fast as possible?

Yet a Lot of People feel very lonely

Although you’re always surrounded by people, it can be a lonely place. It’s already difficult to meet people and make friends the older you get, but New Yorkers are busy people. We got lucky since we already had a few friends living here, and since we climbed a lot, we met friends at our climbing gym.

New Yorkers aren't Friendly / They Don't Fake It

I hear a lot of people say how New Yorkers are rude or cold. Maybe it was my expectations coming in, but I was pleasantly surprised to find plenty of New Yorkers that were friendly. No, it’s not Mr Rogers neighborhood where everyone is saying hello to each other, but when we needed it, strangers took the time to help us out or chat with us.

I also don’t need people to be fake nice to me. I like people being a little more rough around the edges and honest. 

It's truly a melting pot

It is the most linguistically diverse city in the US. Over 800 languages are represented here. On our apartment floor alone, we represented 11 countries.

You See it First

Since it’s a city that starts trends, you get to experience a lot of things like food trends, fashion trends, etc before it arrives anywhere else in the states. Companies often build flagship stores, pop ups always come through, and you’ll get huge music acts visiting the city.

More: Your Essential Guide to NYC Pop Up

You Never Run Out of Things to Do

There are tons of museums, shows, restaurants, bars, and more. It has a little bit LOT of everything for anyone.

More: The Ultimate Guide to Broadway Shows

It's the city that never sleeps

There’s always something to do or eat any time of day. It was perfect for night owls like me who always have a midnight craving.

The Food

The food is hard to top and the food options are endless. We started with a big list when we arrived and every time we checked one off, we learned about another 3. Our list never got smaller. Out of all the great options, they did have a shortage of amazing Korean food, Vietnamese food, and tacos (yes, even in the outer boroughs, but I will always take more recommendations in hopes to prove myself wrong).

More: 99 Best Places to Eat in NYC + 17 Best Desserts in NYC

It's Not Great for Big Groups

If you’re going out with a big group, you don’t have as many options for places to hang out or eat. A lot of places are compact and have limited seating.

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We bought a car! After we left NYC, it was time to add a car back into our lives. As exciting as the idea was to buy a new car, it was as equally overwhelming. Thinking back on the last time I bought a car, there were things I wasn’t looking forward to — like all of the time spent researching.

Now that we’re on the other side of the tunnel and reaping all the rewards of our new car, we wanted to put together some tips for you in case you’re looking to buy a new car soon. Auto Navigator®, Capital One’s digital auto financing tool, was a huge help in finding our dream car. Read on to learn more!

A big thank you to Capital One® for sponsoring this post. All opinions are always our own. This post may contain affiliate links, where we receive a small commission on sales of the products that are linked at no additional cost to you. Read our full disclosure for more info. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Local Adventurer possible.

Last Updated: April 5, 2019

These are the Questions to Ask When Buying a Car
What Is Your Budget?

I like to go in knowing exactly what my budget is. That removes the temptation of buying something outside of what you can really afford just because it wowed you.

What Are Your Must Haves?

Make a list of what you want from your car and if possible, prioritize them. For us, this was our list:

  • Must tow at least 5000 lbs for our future travel trailer
  • All wheel or 4 wheel drive
  • High Clearance
  • Moon Roof
  • Leather and Heated Seats (I could have done without these, but Esther really wanted them)

Next were some things we were hoping for but weren’t a deal breaker.

  • Does it have power outlets for our laptops iHow much cargo space does it have? Will it be enough to move everything we own?
  • Does it have power outlets for our laptops if we need to work on the road?
  • Do the seats lay back flat? Will it be a comfortable car to camp in?
  • Does it have CarPlay so that we can connect our Google Maps?f we need to work on the road?

Everything else was icing on the cake. A must-haves list really helps when you’re looking at five to eight different cars trying to narrow down what you want.

Have You Done RESEARCH?

Before finalizing your purchase, do your research. You can easily learn about all the cars you’re interested in online, and it’s simple to compare the differences between each vehicle. It also helps to try and find the invoice price instead of the MSRP. The invoice price is what the dealer paid the manufacturer for the car.

A great way to compare vehicles is using Auto Navigator. You can select multiple cars to decide what features meet your needs, which cars are within your budget and see car reviews and dealer ratings. You can even access car history reports if you’re looking for a used vehicle.

How Does it Feel When During Your Test Drive?

Once we knew what we wanted from our future car, we drove everything that met our needs and was within our budget.

Pro Tip: You can always ask for more time behind the wheel. After all, if it’s going to be the car you own for years to come, you want to make sure it’s the right one for you.

Do You Need the Car Now or Are You Flexible With Time?

The end of a month, quarter, or year are usually the best times to buy. Also keep in mind if you’re looking to buy a new model that just came out, there will be less incentive to negotiate, but if you wait between six and eight months, you can probably get a better price.

Have You Been Pre-Qualified?

Rather than waiting to see what financing options you have at the car dealership, go in knowing what your options are. Use Auto Navigator by Capital One to pre-qualify for financing with no impact to your credit score. You can even personalize your financing options within the tool so that when you’re ready to buy a car, you can walk into the dealership prepared.

Have You Visited Multiple Dealerships?

Different dealers will have different inventory. Visit multiple dealerships to see your options and determine who has the best vehicle for you.

Pro Tip: Auto Navigator inventory includes nearly 4 million vehicles at over 12,000 participating dealers nationwide.

Are You Prepared to Negotiate?

Don’t take any price as is. Use all the knowledge you have and negotiate terms. Change how long the loan is or offer a bigger down payment. You can even negotiate a better maintenance plan or warranty.

Have You Utilized the Internet?

Obviously you’re here (go you!) so you’re already smart enough to utilize resources the web has to offer. You can also use the internet to get a different sales person. If you walk into a dealership, the salespeople that approach you are most likely making a commission based on the sales price. Some dealerships give their sales people a flat commission and you can usually tell because they won’t be as pushy. An internet sales manager is typically on a salary with a bonus based on volume, not price.

Have You Considered Insurance?

Be sure to look into insurance and add that into the price of your car. Insurance can get pricey depending on which car you buy, where you live, what your driving record is and more. Don’t buy a car right at your limit just to find out you also have an expensive insurance premium.

Are You Ready to Say No to Extras?

After you’re exhausted from negotiating the price to what you want it to be, they spring another choice on you – additional coverage and warranties. In most cases, this is never a good option. They are marked up and the fine print has a lot of caveats. You can usually get the same coverage for much less from insurance companies, and worst case, you can a

Have You Asked Your Friends & Family?

It’s always a good idea to tap friends and family before buying a car in case they have any sort of inside intel. Someone might work for the company and if you’re lucky, can share a friends and family discount. In my case, my brother is a Subaru ambassador and was able to get me an additional coupon for my purchase!

Our Car

If it wasn’t obvious by now through the photos, our new car is the Subaru Ascent! We’re really happy with it and have already taken it on multiple road trips. We can’t wait to get it set up so we can go camping and we’re already looking into some trailers to add. Any suggestions on what we should name the car?

Do you have any other car buying tips?

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